Jan 31: Sustainability Salon Film Series: Sustainability Pioneers

Sustainability Pioneers  
The 36th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon will take place on January 31st (3-10 p.m., with potluck food and drink), continuing our third Wintertime Environmental Film Series.  

This time we'll premiere/preview the newest episode of Sustainability Pioneers, documentary filmmaker Kirsi Jansa's ongoing project highlighting people in our region laying the groundwork for the needed transition to renewable energy and more-sustainable living in our region.  The fourth episode, It Takes a Leader, is the first of two stories of communities with innovative leaders:  Mario Leone, the borough manager of Monaca, has received many accolades for his diverse sustainability initiatives, and Matt Mehalik of Sustainable Pittsburgh talks about sustainability leadership.  (The next episode will feature the mayor of Saerbeck in Germany, who has been guiding his town to a point where they produce 350% more renewable energy than the town consumes.)  Kirsi and collaborators Patricia DeMarco and Terry Collins (and who knows how many featured pioneers, starting with co-host Neil Donahue, seen and heard in the first episode, as well as Mario Leone and Matt Mehalik -- check back on MarensList for updates as I confirm more SP Stars) will all be with us to lead the discussion.  These films will very likely leave you inspired to participate in the energy transition as individuals, so we're joined by Fred Kraybill, of Solarize Allegheny and Solarize Point Breeze (which has its kickoff event coming up), and Jacob Ward of Green Mountain Energy with diverse options for going renewable.  We'll also screen the first three short episodes, all after enjoying some aerial views of Pittsburgh and environs with WQED's Pittsburgh from the Air.  

Why films this time (and in December and February)?  During the winter (when weather can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans), we take a break from our regular speaker format to host screenings of important environmental films, sometimes with the filmmakers on hand to lead the discussion.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come (email Maren with "salon" in the Subject line).  General information and links to past Salon topics are below.  February's Salon will be on the 28th, with a screening of the new Rachel Carson film -- again, we're fortunate to have the filmmakers with us!

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We'll aim to start the main feature around 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site or enjoy the WQED aerial videos, courtesy of Barbara Pace.   Please email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added, and let me know how you heard about us!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

Note once again that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)

For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included consumptiongreen community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, and more food.
Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 

Jan 29: Film screening: The Power of One Voice

The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson is a groundbreaking documentary examining the life of Rachel Carson and the profound implications of her environmental work.  Resonating with her concern about the future of songbirds, the Pittsburgh premiere screening will take place at the National Aviary.

Perfect for classrooms, community events, or private viewing, The Power of One Voice pulls insights from a variety of speakers at the 50-year anniversary celebration of Silent Spring held at Chatham University and The National Aviary on April 11-12, 2012.  This film explores the historical context of Carson’s remarkable achievements and renews her prescient warnings for the modern era.

Notable interviews include renowned Rachel Carson expert and historian, Linda Lear, and a rare interview with Rachel Carson’s adopted son, Roger Christie.  Additional interviews include professor Louis Guillette, author Scott Weidensaul, U.S. Fish and Wildlife historian Mark Madison, journalist Don Hopey, and Patricia DeMarco, Director Emerita of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University.

Today, Rachel Carson remains a role model and inspiration for people across the globe, even as the controversy created by her challenge to the chemical industry continues unabated.  By highlighting the power of Carson’s voice, producers Mark Dixon (of YERT fame, also the film's director) and Patricia DeMarco (Executive Producer) hope to inspire others to add their voices to this essential conversation.

Door 6:30 p.m., screening at 7, and filmmaker Q&A at 8 at the National Aviary (700 Arch St., Pittsburgh, PA, 15212).  
Limited seating -- please purchase tickets via Eventbrite.  Questions? Contact Mark Dixon at 412-204-6098 or via email.  More information about this event, screening license purchases, and DVD pre-orders here.

Jan 28: Climate change talk and discussion

There are skeptics, and then there are skeptics…  those that question, and those that simply refute.  
Climate change “skeptics,” or more aptly climate change deniers, are helping to speed us all on a path toward major disruption of the Earth’s climate system and everything that depends on it.  Dr. Maren Cooke will provide a window onto the science behind global climate change, debunk some common misconceptions (such as the fallacious “warming hiatus” you may have heard about), and talk about sources and sinks of carbon, important feedbacks, impacts around the world and here in our back yard, and what we may still be able to do about it.  

Maren is a planetary scientist and studio artist by training, but now concentrates on science and environmental education and activism on issues from climate change and air quality to land use, resource extraction, and energy generation.  She serves on the board of the Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP) and the Environmental Committee of the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, and works closely with several other environmental organizations.  She volunteers as an Urban Ecosteward, a Tree Tender, and a Master Gardener.  Maren initiated an Edible Schoolyard program at Colfax K-8 (together with Grow Pittsburgh), and has taught about gardening and permaculture there, at Langley K-8 in Sheraden, and at her home, helped found a nature education and stewardship program for schoolchildren in Frick Park, works with Pittsburgh Public summer school students in city parks and community gardens, and has occasionally taught environmental courses at CMU and Pitt.  She also operates an urban microfarm, supplying ultra-local organic produce and garden plants.  She maintains an online listing of environmental and social justice events and resources called MarensList, and hosts Sustainability Salons, a monthly environmental education forum and community gathering.

7-9:30 at the First Unitarian Church at 605 Morewood Avenue in Shadyside.  $5 suggested donation to the Pittsburgh Secular Freethinkers.  RSVP via Meetup here.

Jan 26: Recycling presentation in Mt. Lebanon

Join in on the recycling conversation in Mt. Lebanon.  Learn how to use the municipality's single stream system and how to best recycle as a resident or a business! 

6-7:30 in Mt. Lebanon Public Library (Conference Room B), 16 Castle Shannon Blvd.  Free & open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.

Jan 24: Summit Against Racism

The Summit Against Racism, an interracial and multicultural initiative of the Black and White Reunion, will host its 17th annual event with the theme "From Ferguson to Pittsburgh: Challenges ahead for the Racial Justice Movement".  Held every year on the Saturday after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the event has been recognized as a day when everyone—from students to seasoned activists—can come together to start the new year by making or renewing and revitalizing commitments to ending racism in Pittsburgh.

Come join a diverse group of nearly 300 people across the city who want to discuss, learn, and strategize around promoting racial justice in Pittsburgh!

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 116 S. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.   Register online here.  

The $25 all-day admission includes continental breakfast, lunch, speakers, films, one-year membership in the Black and White Reunion, and several workshops from which to choose. A reduced admission fee of $10 per person is available for students, seniors, groups of five or more, and ldddddow-income attendees. A limited number of scholarships are available for those who cannot pay. (No one will be turned away for lack of funds!)  
For more information, check out the blog, send an email, or call 412-501-3355.

History of the Summit:Jonny Gammage was a Black businessman and philanthropist who died at the hands of white police from positional asphyxiation during a “routine” traffic stop in the Pittsburgh suburb of Brentwood in 1995.  It was this incident, and the “not guilty” verdicts in court cases against the police, that inspired the founding of the Black and White Reunion and BWR’s development of the Summit Against Racism and the Jonny Gammage Memorial Scholarships.

A portion of the proceeds from the Summit supports the Jonny Gammage Scholarships, which are presented by BWR, NAACP Pittsburgh, and the Negro Educational Emergency Drive (NEED) to support Black law students with an interest in studying civil rights and social justice issues at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University.  The scholarships are awarded to the winners of an essay contest that challenges them to answer a relevant question.

Jan 22: Climate justice video dialogue

Confronting Environmental Racism:  Views from the Front Lines of the Climate Justice Struggle.  Kicking off a 5-part video dialogue series with international and local leaders of NGOs highlighting effective mobilization efforts to protect themselves from the effects of global warming and to promote climate justice.

"Sustainability" or Survival?  Popular Responses to Global Climate Change with Jacqueline Patterson, Environmental and Climate Justice Director of the NAACP and Ahmina Maxey, Community Outreach Coordinator of Zero Waste Detroit.

4-5:30 p.m. at 4130 Posvar Hall on the Pitt campus.  Refreshments will be served.  Reading list and more information here.  More in the series on February 5, 12, 26, and March 26.

Jan 19: MLK Birthday Concert

A benefit concert for Duncan and Porter House for the Homeless.  Music provided by Phat Man Dee, Raised by Wolves (the fuzzy comet folks), Trout Season (Mick Karolac's new band), banjoist John Miller, ATS, The Sex Tet Offensive (6 pc jazz), and Meet the Beatless.

9 p.m. at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern (4412 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh 15224).

MLK Day march against racism

6 p.m. at Forbes & Bigelow in Oakland, and marching downtown to the City-County Building on Grant Street.  More info at wechangepittsburgh.com, or by email AWC@themertoncenter.org .

Jan 17: Fed Up film screening

The East End Food Co-op, Women for a Healthy Environment, and Brazen Kitchen's Leah Lizarondo will host a screening of the documentary Fed Up, a film that seeks to expose the truth behind diet-related illnesses that have reached epidemic proportions.  The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring local folks working to foster a healthier food system including LaVerne Baker Hotep, Marcus Poindexter, Hanna Mosca, and Felicia Lane Savage.  

1:30 p.m. at the Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library (7101 Hamilton Ave, Pittsburgh).  More information and online registration here.

Jan 7: ACHD community meeting on Cheswick coal plant

Allegheny County's air is failing federal safe air standards because of high sulfur dioxide levels, which contribute to higher than average asthma rates. The largest source of this pollution is the Cheswick coal-fired power plant in Springdale, but now we have an opportunity to change that.
The Cheswick plant had scrubbers installed to reduce its dangerous pollution, but its air permit allows it to get away with not running the scrubbers meant to protect our health.
The Allegheny Health Department is holding a public meeting where they'll consider strengthening the plants permit to protect our health and force the polluters to clean up their act.

12:30 pm at the Clark Health Center conference room (3901 Penn Ave Pittsburgh , PA 15224; map).  RSVP online: http://action.sierraclub.org/AlleghenyAir  Questions? Contact Jameka Hodnett at jameka.hodnett@sierraclub.org

The Allegheny County Health department (ACHD) can force these polluters to clean up their act. In fact under the Clean Air Act, ACHD is required to create a plan that will bring our air into compliance with the federal safe air standards. This means they have to set stronger pollution limits on sulfur dioxide.  At the ACHD meeting, citizens from Allegheny County will get to talk about the major barriers to their health.  RSVP to make your voice heard for cleaner air in the Pittsburgh region today!